How to fight against Coronavirus using your computer at home?

If you own a Windows, macOS or Linux PC that has a graphics card, you can join thousands of others around the world to fight against Coronavirus by donating your GPU.

A graphics card, GPU, is a piece of compute hardware that is responsible for rendering an image to your monitor. It’s a useful tool for gaming, video rendering and cryptocurrency mining such as Ethereum. Now you can use your AMD Radeon or Nvidia GPU’s to prevent COVID-19.

Recently, Nvidia encouraged people in a tweet to support Folding@home and donate unused GPU power. Folding@home (FAH or F@h) is a distributed computing project for simulating protein dynamics, including the process of protein folding and the movements of proteins implicated in a variety of diseases. Folding@Home, founded in October 2000 at Stanford University, has historically been worked on researching cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Influenza and many others.

On March 10, Folding@home announced an update on their effort to assist researchers around the world taking up the global fight against COVID-19. They use computer simulations to understand a protein’s moving parts. Once scientists have a firm grasp on how the atoms move and interact within a protein, they can venture closer to discovering therapeutics to treat it. But these simulations require massive computational power. Folding@Home team now wants to direct as much global compute power as possible.

To be able to join thousands of others in this movement, you can donate your computer power by downloading Folding@home software. The software uses the spare CPU and GPU cycles of thousands of computers globally to simulate protein folding and computational drug design.

This means many computers can link together and dedicate their processing power to perform huge tasks. This is very similar to cryptocurrency mining. This helps power the advanced simulations that could unlock a key to more deeply understanding the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and its resulting disease COVID-19.

How to set up your system?

To get started, download the Folding@Home client for the OS you’re currently using. The linked page should automatically detect your OS and present the right installer. Simply install the application. If you need any help, here’s a link to detailed installation guides for Windows, macOS and Linux.

As always, the default client settings are the recommended settings. The Folding@home (FAH) client typically runs well using the default settings for most people. However, the client can be configured or customized in different ways. For example, one may choose the amount of computing resources donated to FAH, or change when to download the next work unit. If you don’t want the software run when you’re using your PC, as it may put a heavy load on your system, select “only when idle. Also,” Medium” power setting strikes a good balance between the app’s performance and system usability. For more details check out the configuration guide.

Elliott Dian